Why are you taking Jack? I thought he was going to
become a film star. Jungles are too sweaty for him
Jack has shown an interest in my work.
And why Raleigh in heavens name? He's damn lazy.
He'll be a liability.
Raleigh is a first rate photographer and will be
I don't see why…I can't…
("Sympathetically" and quietly) You can't see why I
won't take you. It's because you've never shown an
interest in my work. Or have much imagination for that
matter. It's hard for a father to see so little progress in
a younger son who seems so un-evolved. Well, you get
your job in your grimy little foundry and your
apprenticeship on the railways if that's your life's aim…
NINA'S voice is heard calling gaily.
NINA Jack! Jack darling! I'm packing you some toffees. I
know you love these ones. They'll be just the thing
when the going gets tough (She laughs).
(Screams out) Oh for CHRIST'S SAKE! LEAVE ME
ALONE! (To himself) Anyway, why shouldn't I become
the Joseph Conrad of Railways?
Music. Light change. Memories flood back in BRIAN'S mind. FAWCETT and NINA together. BRIAN at a distance. FAWCETT
(To NINA) My weakness is hypersensitivity. Have you
never felt, under my apparent calm, the volcano of
nervousness that's always there? It's a foolish
weakness that I've got to conquer. It's a sort of
Fear…I've never been free of it. All my life. I had such
a rotten childhood. The kicks. The snubs of my
(To the audience) He can talk!
They were always over critical. Sending me to
Westminster School developed in me a profound
loathing of the English system of education. It was a
…Where individual thought was considered evil…
Any questioning or creativity was sadistically punished.
Army life was just as bad. It consisted of dominating
and exploiting foreign races. That's why I refused to
collect my DSO. Daily life in England was class
snobbery, dishonesty, greed, hypocrisy. To get on in
my career, I had to hide my feelings. But that didn't
banish my hate. It increased it. This vile reality they
imprison us in!….. That's why I escape into exotic
ancient cultures, a golden past…. a pure Arcadia. Am I
strange? Am I extreme?
NINA hugs her husband. NINA
I eavesdropped on that last conversation of theirs and
for the first time in my life, I felt great warmth for
Daddy. He certainly had a point.
Explorers have two faces; one that the world sees and
admires, and a secret one… seldom revealed.
SCENE SIX. GUEST HOUSE
ALBERT, JESS and NINA enter down stage. NINA is pushed in a wheelchairby ALBERT.
My husband's nickname for me was "Cheeky." He said
it was because I always had to have the last word…
They settle at the table. ALBERT
You think it possible he could still be alive?
JESS starts a huge yawn. NINA
Aged over a hundred?
Definitely. He was extremely fit when he left.
JESS sniggers quietly at ALBERT who tries to ignore her boredom and rudeness.
And Jack. Without doubt he's still alive. It's just that
they made a choice, you see.
Not to return?
I get messages. I'm psychic you know. He contacts me
now and then with reassuring comments.
In that case, why don't you just ask him what
happened? And clear up the mystery.
ALBERT looks furiously at JESS.
Over a hundred people have lost their lives in
Amazonia. Rescue parties! "Looking for Fawcett"! It's
pathetic, this mania.
And they all, except one, went in the wrong direction.
They searched eastward from Cuiaba. My husband
went west. Only the Swiss trapper Stefan Rattin got it
right travelling westward and said he made contact
with my husband. Though I don't know if that's true.
He said Fawcett was wearing a snake-eyed ring, and as
Brian says, my husband never wore rings. So perhaps
it was mistaken identity. Even Mr Rattin died trying to
return to rescue the man he thought was my husband.